Here’s Why CIOs Will Be the New Executive Leaders

The Gartner 2018 CIO Agenda shows why it’s time to master the new business executive job of the CIO.

LiveSYM_bugThe fundamental shift to broader-scale digital business requires that CIOs turn into executive leaders, said Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and research director, in his session reporting on the Gartner 2018 CIO Agenda survey at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2017 in Orlando, Florida.

The Gartner 2018 CIO Agenda surveyed 3,160 CIOs from 98 countries and indicates that success in digital business requires a shift from experimentation to the scaling of best practices. CIOs must match this scale in their own leadership.

“As digitalization and innovation take hold, and IT emphasizes information rather than technology, the CIO role is changing from delivery executive to business executive,” Rowsell-Jones said.

Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and research director, in his session reporting on the Gartner 2018 CIO Agenda survey at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2017 in Orlando, Florida.

Pre-empt disruption

According to the survey, 84% of CIOs from top digital performers have responsibilities outside IT. Innovation and digital transformation top the list.

Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and research director, in his session reporting on the Gartner 2018 CIO Agenda survey at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2017 in Orlando, Florida.

Growth is the No. 1 business priority reported by CIOs for 2018, and yet digital transformation doesn’t come without hurdles. Between early digital experiments, pilots and initiatives that have achieved digital scale, an established wall may prevent organizations from cannibalizing their own business models. This wall extends to cultural mindset as well. Historically, cultural change resistance in the IT organization has been a major impediment and this resistance seems now to be more broadly based.

Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and research director, in his session reporting on the Gartner 2018 CIO Agenda survey at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2017 in Orlando, Florida.

Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and research director, in his session reporting on the Gartner 2018 CIO Agenda survey at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2017 in Orlando, Florida.

Define your new job

To help the organization break down the walls to growth, now is the right time for CIOs to transition to their new roles, and develop crucial characteristics to move forward. Of the CIOs surveyed, most report their jobs are changing. What they do and where they spend their time equate to shifting from the role of delivery executive to that of business executive.

 

CIOs at top-performing enterprises are more likely to sit on the executive committee and report to the CEO

When asked about their success criteria, CIOs at top-performing organizations report that they are already close to their ideal average split of performance metrics: 56% related to business outcomes vs. 44% related to IT delivery. CIOs also report that they are now spending an average of two days more per month on the business executive elements of their job, compared to three years ago. CIOs at top-performing organizations have moved the dial even further, spending an average of four additional days per month on executive leadership.

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Generally, CIOs at top-performing enterprises are more likely to sit on the executive committee and report to the CEO than are CIOs at typical and trailing enterprises. CIOs manage to broaden the pool of executives they influence through membership in the enterprise’s executive committee.

 

Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and research director, in his session reporting on the Gartner 2018 CIO Agenda survey at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2017 in Orlando, Florida.

 

Live your new job

With 79% of all CIOs reporting that digital business is making their IT organizations better prepared to change (93% of CIOs at top-performing organizations), now is the time to implement change to the IT organization, as it is likely to accept a new direction. This, in turn, makes transition to the new job of the CIO easier.

The first part of the new job of the CIO is to build the required bench strength to scale to support the digital ecosystem. This entails filling new roles such as user experience designer, API product manager, chief analytics officer and cloud architect.

Data and analytics remain at the top of the list of technologies to lead digital transformation. In fact, the majority of CIOs think BI/analytics are the most important technologies to help their businesses differentiate and win and/or achieve their organizations’ missions.

AI is growing by leaps and bounds, notably, to fight fraud.

CIOs will need to relentlessly rebalance their IT portfolios and increase their investments in off-premises capabilities while decreasing their investment in on-premises. Some CIOs must address existing skills such as ERP, but most will spend time anticipating the impacts of emerging technologies. Here, digital security technologies top the list, with AI growing by leaps and bounds — notably, to fight fraud.

Overall, the impact of digital transformation on the job of CIO and on the IT organization will be profound. In this new world, success is not based on what CIOs build, but on the services they integrate. The IT organization will move from manufacturer to buyer, and the CIO will become an expert orchestrator of services. This requires not only new technologies, but a skilled team, an organizational culture ready for transformation and a CIO ready to lead the business.

Learn more about CIO survey in the complimentary Insights From the 2018 CIO Agenda Report by Andy Rowsell-Jones, et al. Gartner clients can read more in the full report, The 2018 CIO Agenda: Mastering the New Job of the CIO.

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